Prinsep and Stanley, JJ.
1. The petitioner was arrested by a chowkidar in possession of a load of newly cut wood, which it was suspected had been cut from a Government served forest, and after his arrest it is said that he admitted to the ckowkidar having so obtained it. He has accordingly been convicted and sentenced to fine under Section 25 of the Indian Forest Act (VII of 1878). The Sessions Judge has referred this case to us as a Court of Revision, that the conviction and sentence may be set aside, on the ground that a confession so made is not admissible in evidence, and as that is the only evidence in the case, there is no evidence to justify the conviction and sentence.
2. Section 25 of the Evidence Act declares that no confession made to a Police officer shall be proved as against a person accused of any offence. We are not inclined to restrict this to officers of the regular Police Force. In our opinion, it applies to every Police officer. In Empress v. Rama Birapa (1878) I.L.R., 3 Bom., 12, it was held to apply to a Police patel, and in the matter of Hiran Miya (1877) 1 C.L.R., 21, it was held that the proper construction of Section 25 of the Indian Evidence Act is one that excludes confessions to a Police officer under any circumstances. The High Court, too, accepted the opinion expressed by Garth, C.J., in The Queen v. Hurribole Chunder Ghose (1876) I.L.R., 1 Cal., 207, that the term 'Police officer' should not be read in a strict technical sense, but according to its more comprehensive and popular meaning. As without the confession there is no evidence to prove the offence, the conviction and sentence must be set aside, and the fine if paid refunded.